FlightAware Discussions

Pan Am and TWA [If They Still Existed]

If Pan Am and TWA still existed today, how do you think they will be doing? My question for you guys is where would they fly to, what aircrafts would they operate and order, who they would have code share agreements with, and what alliance would they be with. In my opinion, I will answer the following…

Where Would They Fly To:
My guess is that they would operate to every state in the United States, maybe some select regional airports in some states. I would see them flying to most major Europe and Asia destinations, maybe some select Africa destinations like South Africa, maybe Ethiopia and Kenya, Egypt, and Libya, half-3/4s of South America, and some select Oceania countries like Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand.

What Aircrafts Would They Operate:
I would see Pan Am operating the Boeing 737, 747, 757, 767, 777 Airbus A320 and/or A330. For connection, I would see them operate the ATR 72, Dash 8-400, and Embraer Ejets, and/or Brasilia. If they ordered any aircrafts, they should order the Boeing 787, Airbus A350 and A380

TWA maybe operating the Boeing 737, 747, 757, 767, 777 Airbus A330 and/or A340. For connection, they might operate the same and order the same thing as Pan Am.

Who Would They Have Code Share Agreements With:
Since Pan Am didnt have any Code Share Agreements, I bet that they would have it with Singapore Airlines, Asiana, Japan or ANA, Qantas, Lufthansa one of the major airlines in China, Air France, Emirates, South African, maybe Ethiopian, British Airways, and Air Canada.

With TWA having Code Share Agreements Royal Jordanian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Air Europa, and Air Malta and American West for domestic, they would probably have half or most of Pan Am’s agreements. Which airline do you think Pan Am and TWA would have a Code Share Agreement with?

What Alliance Would They Be With:
Between OneWorld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam, I would say Pan Am would be with SkyTeam, and TWA would be with Star Alliance.

So now I want to hear from you. Compare your answers to mine, because I know you all will have better answers than what I have.

There’s a reason both don’t exist anymore - they both had route networks and cost structures that didn’t work in a competitive world.

TWA was obviously closer to being competitive as they hung on 10 years longer.

If TWA still existed they would probably have one hub at STL operating small narrowbody aircraft, primarily the B717 and 737-700 or A319 to domestic destinations and perhaps have a small fleet of their 767’s to fly significant international routes from STL and perhaps a few flights from the west coast to Hawaii or JFK to Europe.

They would basically be Frontier with a little bit more of an international operation.

Pan Am was so broken by the end there’s basically no reasonable way to extrapolate what they might be today. I think the most reasonable option for them would be a 737 carrier based in MIA operating lots of latin american routes fed from major cities in the US to MIA (basically just imagine the AA hub in MIA). Maybe they would also have a few widebodies (767 or A330) to fly to deeper South America and Europe from MIA. Remember that Pan Am never really had much of a domestic hub, which ultimately led to their demise.

Pan Am would have survived had they not sold off their trans-Pacific and South America routes.

Their domestic feed to/from international hubs would be by code share flights for short haul (<750 miles) while their medium/long haul flights would be operated by them with most segments being add-ons to long haul overseas flights. In other words, they would be an airline with predominately overseas flights and some domestic flights.

In order to TWA to have survived they would have had to get trans-Pacific and/or South America flights. Their STL hub was a good choice because of its central location. The problem with STL is the same problem with many other hubs in the Midwest - the winter weather can really wreck havoc with the schedule.

They would need a new hub for South America flights. I would say TPA or MCO because Pan Am would still have its MIA hub for Latin America services.

The problem with STL is the same problem with many other hubs in the Midwest - the winter weather can really wreck havoc with the schedule.

Could KSTL have been much worse than KJFK? :smiling_imp:

Granted, St. Louis isn’t exactly New York in terms of generating international traffic. :slight_smile:

In the case of Pan Am, the route of its ultimate failure began when they only flew internationally. After WW2, they assumed the mantel of flag carrier even though there were a couple of others in including TWA. As time progressed the problem was one of feed of passengers into Pan Am domestically. By the 1970s, the writing was on the wall so in the early 1980s under de-regulation, they acquired National to establish both a domestic system and a feed to international traffic - thus keeping the revenue stream in house. As de-regulation took hold, Pan Am,with high costs, just could not compete. Selling off routes and equipment was a sure sign they were doomed.

For TWA, it did have a domestic system in addition to international services to Europe. There problem revolved around high operating costs. The take over of Ozark further complicated the TWA system. I worked a number of years in St. Louis and I for one, did a lot of traveling during that period and I did my best to avoid like the plague TWA followed by Ozark. In the end, They were trying to adopt a new model (the large purchases of B717s and A-318s - which did not make sense to me) which did not have time to work till they were in dire financial problems.

It would be pure speculation to guess what Pan Am or TWA would like today if they were still around.

Pan Am’s purchase of National was just plain stupid. With deregulation, Pan Am could operate its own domestic routes. If Pan Am had purchased National strictly for its aircraft and maintenance facilities and not the routes, I think Pan Am would have survived, at least a little bit longer than 1991.

In any case, Pan Am paid way too much for National. An article in in the 8 Oct 79 Ocala Star Bannersaid the biggest expense of the merger was legal fees.

Who can do anything BUT speculate on “how TWA and PanAm would be today” – given the financial and world events of the past 20 years … but one scenario might well have been that the two carriers would have merged into one carrier, and might, might, have survived this long.

Pan Am and TWA talked about merging at least three times: 1962, 1971, 1990
Park City Daily News (Google News)
LA Times (Pan Am made unreasonable demands during these merger talks. Pan Am went bankrupt the following year.)
Flight Global

I cant believe Im hearing this. I never knew they wanted to merge. Except TWA is now American Airlines.

What’s so heard to believe? Pan Am and TWA would have made a good fit.

The majority of Pan Am’s flights were international (contrary to popular belief, Pan Am did operate domestic flights to Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands). TWA operated both domestic and international flights. Both airlines operated mostly Boeing aircraft. There was some route duplication but this was mainly on transatlantic flights. TWA eventually had transpacific routes but these were very limited.


I meant didnt know enough about about Pan Am and TWA’s history to know that they were thinking of merging. And I think they should have because I would have seen them having great business, plus gives both crew of TWA and Pan Am experience to fly with other people to international destinations. And they would have experienced flying different, and new airplanes.

One thing you’ll learn as you read more about the airline industry is that the “M” (merger) word often used. Although, because there are so few major airlines in the USA now the word isn’t used as much. When I got I interested in airlines, there were many more majors.

  • American

  • Braniff (the original one)

  • Continental

  • Delta

  • Eastern

  • National (the original one)

  • Northeast

  • Northwest

  • Pan American (the original one)

  • Southwest (although when I got interested in airlines this was still just a intrastate carrier)

  • TWA

  • United

  • Western

And many local service carriers:

  • Allegheny (later US Airways)

  • Frontier (the original one)

  • Hughes AirWest (this was the result of the only 3-way merger: West Coast, Bonanza, Pacific)

  • Mohawk

  • North Central

  • Ozark

  • Piedmont

  • Southern

  • Trans-Texas (later Texas International)

While a couple of these airlines did go out of business, many of them still exist in the corporate lineage of the airlines today. Airline family trees have lots of branches.

Airlines merged into today’s airlines, either directly or indirectly:

  • American: TWA, Ozark (which had merged into TWA)

  • United: Continental, Eastern, Trans-Texas (as Texas International), the Pacific division of Pan American

  • Delta: Northwest, Northeast, North Central, Southern, Hughes AirWest (the last three had merged to form Republic which merged into Northwest), Western, the Atlantic Latin American division of Pan American

  • US Airways: Piedmont, Mohawk

Braniff and what was left of Pan American went out of business.

I’m probably missing some of the airlines but you get the idea.

Merging of airlines is not for the weak of heart. The merging of two different corporate cultures, different policies, etc., etc., makes for a very messy routine. And sometimes, it just doesn’t work, period. A good example is the Pan American/National merger. Another example is when USAir purchased PSA. That was a really bad merger.

Eastern did not merge into United. The only airline United had ever merged with prior to Continental was the original Capitol airlines.

My mistake. I was thinking that Continental had purchased Eastern because of the Frank Lorenzo connection. Eastern was another airline that just quit flying and wasn’t merged into another carrier.

The airline they merged with was Capital Airlines. The merger created the largest airline in the USA and the 2nd largest (after Aeroflot) at the time.

Very interesting! Dont forget about Southwest Airlines. They bought out and merged with:
Muse Air/TranStar Airlines
Morris Air
ATA Airlines,
Now AirTran Airways

Dont forget they also tried buying out Frontier.

Southwest didn’t merge with ATA. They only bought their operating certificate in order to get their LGA slots. They acquired no ATA aircraft or employees and surrendered any international route authorities they held.

They did have some influence in the demise of Chicago Express as well. Their no turboprop philosphy came into play when they infused ATA Holdings with cash.

With how often Chicago Express/ATA Connection changed network strategies - it’s clear it never really made any money to begin with.

I’m not sure what you mean? C8 started out as an independent but became an ATA Conx carrier and then purchased by Amtran. The route structure was pretty much the same throughout, and only the fleet change of J31s to SF3s were made.

Chicago Express was owned by the holding company that owned ATA.